The benchmark for Carl Pei (Nothing) is this 13th century soldier

What does a 13th century military strategist and emperor have to do with today’s technology industry? More than meets the eye, according to one of the most influential people in the industry.

Carl Pei He is one of the executives of the moment in the technology industry, first for his time at OnePlus, which he co-founded with Pete Lau, and now for his role as founder and CEO of Nothing, a brand with which he wants to return the illusion to device manufacturers and is already working on its second smartphone.

The Swedish manager of Chinese origin spoke with Business Insider Spainand has not been afraid to be controversial talking about the high profit margins in the technology industry or about the fact that folding smartphones do not respond to a real need of users, which for now clears up the rumors of a foldable Nothing.

In addition, he has surprised by revealing that his great technological reference is not a current engineer or sector executive, not even remotely recent, but a historical figure: Genghis Khan (1162-1227), the first emperor of the Mongol Empire, considered the greatest in the world at its height.

Genghis Khan was very innovative in his time, especially in terms of military innovation and combat technology.“, says Pei, while acknowledging that he is far from being an expert in history.

Carl Pei, founder and CEO of Nothing and co-founder of OnePlus.
Carl Pei, founder and CEO of Nothing and co-founder of OnePlus.


Historians recognize Genghis Khan, or Genghis Khan in English, as one of the most important and influential historical figures for his ability to unify the Mongol tribes and, already as emperor since 1206, establish a army famous for its flexibility, its discipline and its organization.

Thanks to this military efficiency and the development of new and innovative combat techniques (on horseback, with archers, and thanks to tactics such as mock retreats), the Mongol Empire expanded from the Central Asian steppes of present-day Mongolia and was able to to subdue entire countries, from China to Eastern Europe.

This comparison with the recent technology industry, which might sound a bit far-fetched a priori, makes more sense than it seems.

“Current companies are the same as the armies of the past. Before we used to fight wars and now we fight with capital, but I think it’s the same, only before what was at stake were human lives and today, money,” he adds. the CEO and founder of Nothing.

Nothing’s story, in products

Nothing Phone (1)

At the moment, the brand created by Carl Pei is a long way from achieving the dominance that Genghis Khan achieved on the battlefield, but at the same time it has managed to make Nothing recognized as one of the most striking brands in the sector.

Founded in 2020, it debuted in 2021 with the transparently designed Nothing Ear (1) earphones, before launching new devices like the Nothing Ear Stick earphones late last year. This March, the brand has launched its second generation with the Nothing Ear (2), with better sound than its predecessors.

In addition, since the summer of last year the brand already has its first smartphone on the market, the Nothing Phone (1), with a transparent design, luminous glyphs on its back and an internal configuration that combines the mid-range of its processor with other more premium details.

Now the company is working on its successor, a phone that looks like it will be high-end to compete with Apple’s iPhone.

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